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Foundation celebrates two decades of service

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There will be 20 candles atop the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation birthday cake this year. Those candles represent the thousands of LISD students and employees who have benefited from the nonprofit corporation’s dedication to excellence in education in the 13 communities it serves.

“LEF is the best goodwill ambassador our district has,” said LISD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Roy. “Each school campus has a certain share of budgeted funds per student, but there’s never enough [money] to support all the programs that students may want or deserve. The Foundation helps provide the opportunity for teachers to address the ‘extras’ for their students.”

Teacher, counselor or librarian grants ranging from $100 to $1,000 are awarded for projects that enhance and augment educational opportunities for students and teachers not otherwise available from LISD budgets. In 2009, teacher grants totaled more than $44,000.

In May, awards ranging from $200 to $3,000 in the donation categories of business, civic organization, family and individual, LISD organizations and memorial scholarships totaling $115,700, were presented to 182 graduating seniors.

Since its inception in 1990, LEF has awarded almost $438,000 in grants to teachers and over $1,056,000 in scholarships to more than 1,800 LISD seniors.

“We’ve already received just over $107,000 in grant requests from LISD employees for the upcoming 2010-11 school year,” said Connie Pelphrey, development director for LEF.

Over the past 20 years, there have been similar repeated requests, such as video cameras and classroom books, as well as requests updated by technology—books on CD, rather than sets of encyclopedias.

The area’s population growth since 1990 has challenged the LISD district to keep pace.

In addition to the financial support LEF provides to students and staff, Roy is quick to point to its intangible worth.

“The grants and scholarships are two legs on the [LEF] ‘stool,’ but the third leg is the cultural diversity of the volunteers and board members who provide a level of support for education that’s made LISD a ‘lighthouse’ for other districts to seek and follow.”

The guiding light for LEF is its mission: To enrich the quality of public education by being a vehicle for securing private funding benefiting LISD students and teachers.

Over the past two decades, the volunteer board of directors has included local educators, medical professionals, small business owners, ministers, elected officials, realtors, attorneys and parents.

“We are eternally grateful to those who work with and donate to the Foundation, but we don’t tell them often enough,” said Roy.

The 20th anniversary party theme is an “Evening for Education – A Culinary Experience” and will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lewisville on Friday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m.

The evening is sponsored by the SHW Group and includes auctions and culinary experiences from Morris Salerno, Noodle Swing Thai Café, Rouge Moderne Bistro, Dat’s Good BBQ, Agave Azul, Rockfish Seafood and 18 more venues. Tickets are $75 per individual and $130 per couple.

For more information, reservations or to donate, visit www.lisdef.com.

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